Why Humans Can't Multitask
As humans, we like to think that we’re amazing at everything. We know it’s bad to text and drive, and yet, people do it all the time. Why? Because they think they can multitask. Until they crash into the car in front of them. But even then, it wasn’t their fault. The car in front simply stopped too abruptly. Yeah, sure!
The truth is, even though we don’t like to hear it, that we as human beings are not as good at focusing on more than one thing at once. I mean, think back for a moment. Has your favorite show ever come on while you have to study, but you really, really don’t want to miss it so you convince yourself that you can watch the show while doing some work? How did that work out for you? We’re guessing, badly. You probably only remembered the first sentence that you read. After that, you’re attention fully shifted over to 7de Laan or Isidingo, are we right?
Secondly, we only remember what we pay attention to. So if the thing you were paying attention to was The Bachelor SA season 2, then that’s what you’ll remember. Not the information in the sad, abandoned textbook open on the couch next to you.
Don’t believe us? Here are a couple of exercises you can do that will demonstrate our point:
- Take both you’re index fingers and place them in front of your eyes, facing each other. Now, rotate one towards you and one away from you, simultaneously. If you think you’re doing it, they’re probably going in the same direction.
- Look around the room for a moment and count all of the blue items in the room. Cool, once you’ve done this, stop and look at the screen. How many did you count? Now, without looking away from the screen, tell us how many white items there are in the room? You couldn’t say, could you? Why? Of course you saw the white items as you looked around, but you weren’t paying attention to them. You were focusing on counting the blue. Proof that we can only focus on one thing at a time.
- Watch these videos and follow the instructions:
The proof is in the pudding!
Use this information to your advantage. Don’t try to study more than one subject at once. Don’t have multiple internet tabs open while you study. Don’t try to watch Netflix while doing that assignment. Lastly, don’t scroll through Instagram while you’re prepping for that test. We simply cannot focus on more than one thing at a time and expect our memories to function optimally. We’re watching you!